Smoky Hill tops Palisade in ‘weird’ win

Before Smoky Hill’s 70-53 win over Palisade during the Warrior Challenge on Friday at Central High School, Smoky Hill coach Keenan Clement considered what was, for him, a unique moment.

Clement played for Palisade until his graduation in 1996, then, from 2003-07, he coached the Bulldogs. It was Clement’s first time playing against his former high school.

“This is weird,” Clement said before the game. “I don’t like it. It’s the weirdest game I’ve ever been a part of.”

The weirdness ended at tip-off, however, and Smoky Hill (2-0), led by Denis Terzic’s 12 points and nine rebounds, did not trail.

“When the game started, all I was thinking about was the team,” Clement said.

Palisade (0-2) was led by Caleb Hall’s 12 points.  With the Bulldogs trailing 39-20 with 5:30 left in the second quarter, Hall scored nine points in two minutes.

First, off a steal and pass from Connor Whaley, Hall dribbled behind his back as a defender went to swipe the ball, then finished a layup. He added another layup, 3-point play and jump shot to cut Smoky’s lead to 44-29.

“He also rebounded well and played great defense tonight,” Palisade coach Steve Phillips said. “We’ll come together once our football players get their basketball legs under them.”

Clement, meanwhile, said he was not thinking about his high schools days, when he wore No. 35. Nor did he think Smoky Hill had an advantage with him having played and coached at Palisade.

“At this point in the season, everything goes out the window,” Clement said. “You’re dealing with high schools, so you can have the greatest game plan in the whole world and it might not matter. They’re thinking about girls and this and that, and they’re thinking about their day at school. So (being from Palisade) doesn’t matter.”

Fruita Monument 50, Fountain Fort-Carson 37: Drew Bridges scored 27 points and Alex Padget added 18 points as Fruita Monument pulled away from Fountain-Fort Carson in the final minutes.

Fruita (2-0) led 41-37 with 1:32 left when Trojans guard Brent Jackson fouled Bridges on a rebound. Jackson was then called for a technical foul after he argued with a referee and Bridges made 3 of 4 free throws to put the game away.

The game was tied at 4-4 after the first quarter.

“We struggled all night, especially offensively,” Fruita Monument coach Dave Fox said. “We couldn’t score, make any shots. We were very impatient.”

Ralph Gooden led Fountain-Fort Carson (1-1) with 14 points.

Grand Junction 55, Longmont 33: The Tigers continued their hot perimeter shooting, this time with better results.

After making six 3s in Thursday’s overtime loss to Fountain-Fort Carson, the Tigers hit eight more 3-pointers Friday.

“We’re a team of streaky shooters,” coach Dutch Johnson said. “We have four or five guys that can really shoot the ball, and if any of them cool off, one of the others can pick us up.”

The first three buckets for the Tigers (1-1) were all from beyond the arc, going 3 of 4 in the first two minutes. Garrett Harrison hit his first two attempts from deep and Casey Burns added one to put Grand Junction on top 9-2.

“We’ve got a lot of guys that can work the trade and kick,” Tiger guard Broderick Robinson said. “We pass until we find the open guy.”

Longmont (0-2) cut the deficit to 16-10 in the second quarter before the Tigers went on an 11-5 run with the help of three 3s from Justin Whiting, who finished with 11 points, to build a 27-18 halftime lead.

“We played much better as a team tonight,” Johnson said. “We shared the ball a lot more and committed less turnovers.”

—Matt Meyer contribued to this story


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